Monday, November 23, 2009

"Filtered Water and Pictures of You": Top 100 Songs of the '00s, Part Six #50 - #41

I've finally decided on the #1 song. It will be revealed in the final post of this series. Your patience will be rewarded. I can say the following about the decade's best song:
-It was not released in a traditional manner. More precisely, it was not first released as a song on an album of songs by the particular artist or band.

-It was released in the first half of the decade
-I first heard it in the second half of the decade
-It is a song performed in a particular genre by a band or artist not known for performing in this particular genre.
-Its lyrics include the following words:
  • and
  • a
  • smart
  • me
  • you
  • toilet
And now let's move on down/up the list:

50. Morning Glory - Ike Reilly (2009)
Proof of the immediacy of the internet: I just heard this song for the first time 20 minutes ago. From today until Nov. 29, you can hear the whole album for free here.
This song is track #1. Tracks #3, #5, and #8 are also awesome. You may need to manipulate the arrows on the right and left before you get to this particular album. I would also like to note that I have never ever before championed a song by anyone named "Ike" or "Reilly."

49. Deceptacon (DFA Remix) - Le Tigre (2001)

If you do not smile and dance and wiggle and shake and go crazy when you hear this song, you are:
A. Soulless
B. Shy in public settings and you're in a public setting now, explaining your lack of movement
C. Above it all

48. For Reverend Green – Animal Collective (2007)
I used to play this song in my car when I needed good luck. It would inspire me, fill me with vigor and anticipatory positivity. In the end, I must admit the truth: Without fail, this song gave me nothing but bad luck. Oh well, not all plans work out. Not all dreams come true. Still an awesome song.

47. A Down and Dusky Blonde – God Help the Girl (2009)

2009 is getting to be an amazing year for music, one of the best I can remember. Here, Stuart Murdoch from Belle & Sebastian enlists various female vocalists in a wholly successful attempt to express some other aspect of his multifaceted personality. Or something like that. One of my favorite albums of the year.

(Afterword: I just listened to this song again and shivers ran up my spine. I read the lyrics and emotions pushed themselves up to my heart valves and tear ducts. God, what a perfect song. I considered moving it higher. But I will leave it at #47 because #47 is where it belongs, #47 is where I had the reaction:
"Your torso crushing me / Into the country and the tunnels and the fields")

46. Paw Paw Tree - Fiery Furnaces
2005. I remember it well. This blog was born that year. This song was played that year.

45. Cavity - Stew (2000)
There is no "5th and Alvarado" in Los Angeles. I learned this the hard way. In wintry Minnesota in the early 2000s, this song about Los Angeles sustained me as I approached the (dreaded / inevitable / joyous) impending move from MN to CA. I didn't want to go. Or I wanted to go. Or something like that. But Stew kept me warm, kept me hopeful:
Brother Lazarus can you explain to me your return to city of the dead?
He said "On Fifth and Alvarado I feel no pain

Nobody even noticed when I floated down Main
And they say that I'm insane
Out here in the rain"
But look here. Look at the map:

You see the corner of 6th and Alvarado. You see a bit of the park where someone left a cake out in the rain. You see the corner of 3rd and Alvarado. You see 5th Street come to a complete END a little east of Alvarado. THERE IS NO 5TH AND ALVARADO. Yes, 5th begins again in earnest, a little bit to the left of the map, right off of Park View. But there it's just a block long. It begins again in more earnest earnest at Hoover, even more to the left of the map, lasting a few blocks before expiring at Shatto (where I once had a job interview on a cold rainy morning). Then, at Vermont, 5th thrives, bounding all the way to Muirfield (just pass Rossmore, almost to La Brea). But there is no intersection of 5th and Alvarado.

So what did Stew mean when he said "On 5th and Alvarado I feel no pain"?
A. Because this intersection does not exist, there is nowhere that he feels "no pain." Thus, the narrator always feels pain.

B. He is not singing about Los Angeles. My Los Angeles-focused xenophobia has been exposed for all to see. But you see... by my count, over 70% of Stew's songs are about Los Angeles. He's even recorded a cover of Macarthur Park (pictured above), for god's sake (though in his version, it's "crack" not "cake" that gets left out in the rain.)

And, just to be thorough, I used Google maps to research every other Alvarado (Street, Road, Avenue, etc.) in the world. Or at least those in North America. There is only one place where 5th and Alvarado intersect and it's in the town of Belle, Missouri, in the central rural part of the state. That's it. He's not singing about the Alvarado in San Francisco or the one in Oceanside or the one in Lake Elsinore; none intersects with 5th. He's singing about L.A. or Belle. I'll take my chances with L.A.

C. He made a mistake. He meant to say "6th."

D. It's a song, dude. Not everything in song needs to be real.

E. He's not singing about an intersection. He's singing about two separate streets. Someone who read an early draft of this entry and whose first and middle names contain the same number of letters as my first and last name suggested this theory. It's a good one. It's entirely plausible.
I don't know the answer, I really don't. But C is most likely. And E is most poetic.

44. LDN - Lily Allen (2006)
I wrote about this song before. Read. Embedding disabled but you can listen/watch here.

43. We Will Become Silhouettes - Postal Service (2005)

I could be an anti-Postal Service snob and put the Shins cover version here instead. But I will not. The plinky electro-pop original deserves to be here. (And you guessed right - this is where the this entry's title quote originates.)

42. Ask Her For Adderall – The Hold Steady (2008)
I will not go 10 songs without a Hold Steady / Lifter Puller song. I am sorry to disappoint you. Sometimes it's not so much about the music (which in this song is pretty cool)... sometimes it's about the words. Being that this is a "bonus track" which does not really exist, I cannot link to it. But I've heard it. Many times.

41. She Wants to Move – N.E.R.D. (2005)

Yes, it's true. Look at your girl. She truly wants to move. Never before and never since has one man sung to another in such a belittling, cuckolding way. It's not an easy act to pull off. Sure, men can easily belittle women in song, as t h e s e songs of the sixties and seventies prove. But man-to-man woman-related putdown? A rare feat. Here.

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